I get knocked down, but I get up again

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Last week I was running to catch the train. It was just starting to snow, and I was hoping to get home before things really picked up. The doors were closing and a man stuck his hand out to hold them open for me—how nice of him.

Two steps to go before I would be safely inside and I slipped in the kind of way you see cartoon animals slip on banana peels. I slipped and fell hard on my back. I lay for what felt like two minutes but was probably closer to two seconds before realizing my right arm and leg was between the subway car and the platform, a dangerous place for which new New Yorkers are warned to stay away. I quickly, dizzily rolled my way over to the platform and slowly sat up.

“I think I hit my head,” I said to what I thought would be a crowd of strangers hurrying to lend a hand.

But no one seemed to notice except for the subway conductor who gave me a thumbs up before closing the doors for good. It scared me more than it hurt me, at least until the next day when my whole body ached from what I presume was a combination of whiplash and landing flat on the corner of the subway platform. But not one single person asked me if I was ok, not even when I was sobbing on the stairs for 22 minutes while I waited for the next Q train. Yeah, now you know why I was running to catch the previous one.

Here's my theory... because I refuse to believe everyone in this city is horrible. Maybe no one thought to comfort me  because I was wearing my black leather jacket. Girls in black leather jackets don’t usually look like they need help. Girls in black leather jackets always look cool and independent and effortless and they also probably don’t fall in public places. At least, that’s what I tell myself when I’m wearing my leather jacket.

I have always wanted a real leather jacket to keep forever and hopefully pass down to my future daughter. And I think this one is pretty perfect. I imagine it camouflaging all of my a-line dresses and and delicate blouses, just so everyone knows I mean business and don’t need your help. Except when I fall.

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[jacket-uo (similar), top-free people, jeans-zara, shoes-doc marten, necklace-madewell]

on being an exhibitionist and leaving your window open

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Warning: This post is really sad. Animal-lovers beware. I’m not really sure where this is going, but this is one of those stories I couldn’t get out of my head until it was written down. I promise not to be as morbid next time. Actually I don't promise, morbid stories are probably my favorite kind to read. 

***

I moved to Brooklyn two weeks ago and it is wonderful. I am so glad I spent my first year in Manhattan, right in the middle of all the action. But I’ve always seen myself as a Brooklyn-gal. I remember venturing over the bridge for the first time on my second or third visit to the city and suddenly seeing myself here. The people seemed relatable, the apartments a bit more spacious, and everything just a tad less stressful. But I will certainly miss the tiniest room I ever hope to inhabit, and the the quirky neighbors that truly appreciated my kitty, and the window that looked out over a garden patio, orange tree and all.

I kept my window open year-round. I loved to listen. Ambulances wailing, kids playing, dogs barking, arguments ranting, music playing. It reminded me where I am, that I’m not alone, that me and my window were part of a community of others, even if I didn’t know who they were.

My window was decorated with succulents in the fall, books and a spruce-scented candle in the winter, and an air conditioning unit in the summer. Each object a necessity for the season. Sunlight spilled through the panes, unhindered by curtains. I never valued natural light until now. When buildings are pressed together, neither light nor air is a given, and I did not want to suffocate my allowance with curtains or blinds. Also, I tried curtains but the rod kept falling down.

We're all exhibitionists here in the is city. It certainly does take all types, but a lot of the types here are the theater majors and changers, the dancers and artists, the stylists and the journalists, and all those other 'ists showboating their names about town.The fashions can be likened to peacocks, displaying their personalities on their literal sleeves. Private conversations are paraded through crowded streets. And windows are kept open unabashedly allowing others to be a part of your space. With only a screen between you and the outside, you hear and see everything. The good, the bad, and the really bad. But all of us are probably just leaving our windows open to give others a peak.

My little window reminded me of bigger things outside, kept me cool, and added essential accouterments to my otherwise lacking aesthetic. But this window also let me hear the good and extremely bad things that happen in big cities. 

The good.

I saw the snow fall and build up on the sill and stay long enough for a photo, just like in the movies. During the spring and summer I could hear Spanish music playing in the community garden two buildings over. I’m sure neighbors were equally as entertained by my open window as I was them. With no curtain they heard my get ready tunes in the morning, giggly roommate conversations, and probably saw more of me than they wanted.... exhibitionist.

The bad. 

I still have not found a metaphor to explain this tragic story of my open window one winter night. But it still haunts me to this day. I don’t think this story has much of a place on a fashion blog, but we all know this little piece of internet has started to head in a different more personal direction anyways.

An open window is a gamble. An unexpected rainstorm may ruin your down pillows. A loud argument between a quarreling couple may interrupt a deep sleep. And it involves you in outside happenings you may not intend to be a part of. And vice versa

I’m used to unexplainable noises waking me up at night. Police sirens don’t startle me anymore. I don’t jump at loud creaks or unexpected “booms.” It comes with the big-city territory. But one night I woke up to a dog screeching and growling from what seemed to be just below my window. I jolted awake, but it stopped as abruptly as it started. It was way too cold to go outside and check it out anyways.

As I was just settling back down, a long, loud wail followed.

“Rick! Oh no, Rick!”

I’ve never in my life heard a wail like that night. It was almost inhuman. Who was Rick and what happened to him? I thought someone may have jumped.

The screaming continued. But the neighborhood was quiet. It took three minutes of the wailing until someone asked through their window if the man screaming was ok, if Rick was ok. I imagine that sort of scream is reserved for two or three times in a person’s life. We hear it on TV and in movies, but in person, that scream, it penetrates your bones and wraps it’s way around your lungs, tighter and tighter. I don’t think I could have physically said any comforting words even if I wanted to.

“Is everything OK?” a man asked from above.

“Shut upppp.” an older man farther away shouted.

“What’s wrong?” another chimed in from the window of a building next door.

“My dog fell. My dog Rick fell out the window.”

Rick didn’t make it.

A police officer came. Rick’s owner calmed down. Silence.

I never got the courage to go outside to see or talk to the man, but I can image this was one of the worst days of that man’s life. And I was there, just listening.

***

Here’s a photo of me in a dress for the sake of this being a personal fashion blog and because I'm an exhibitionist.

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Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

snowbank sweaters

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Winter clothes are my favorite, but only a select few (roommates, co-workers, since I am a full-time employee now!) have seen my elusive winter wardrobe as I am normally bundled up to my nose with scarves, masked with a long down coat and another scarf just to be safe. It took a while, but the romanticized dreams of a city dancing in snow has faded, and I'm pretty much ready for some warmer weather. Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful. But all good things must come to an end. Within 30 minutes of snowfall, blanketed sidewalks become slushy and grey, sprinkled with toxic chemicals to hasten melt time. While I wait for spring, I'm sticking to neutral-toned sweaters that match the blackened, road-stained snow banks that form on the sidewalks.

I haven't strayed much from the grey and black sweater, black jeans combo. It's just too damn cold to wear anything but pants and boots. I've made a uniform of sorts, and it cuts my getting-ready time in half.

For the record, New York is still kicking my ass, but I've definitely grown stronger with it. I'd say we're just about neck and neck. We're kind of like a "love-struck," dysfunctional high school relationship. I'm always running back to him because he's the hot shot quarterback, but he won't invite me to hang out with his friends yet because I'm just not cool enough. But he promises he loves me and buys me flowers when I think about ditching him and I take him back reluctantly only because he's hot.

So basically New York is John Tucker, the epitome of awful high school boyfriends. But who actually wins these battles? Brittany Snow does, and you, because you're probably not with your high school boyfriend anymore, and New York won't. Soon he'll drop the veil of deceit and cave to pressures of my hard-work and tears. So don't you worry, I'll whip him (New York, John Tucker?) into shape in due time, I've never been one to let someone else call the shots for long.

So I tried to talk fashion, I really did. And then my emotions invaded this precious space and I didn't even ask them and I can't really help it. I hope you guys don't mind. Thanks for listening.

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[sweater-zara, boots- doc martens]

wish list

gift guide

gift guide

by

abigailcrain

featuring

capri blue candles

This Christmas I can honestly say I don't need anything gift wise... except rent money. I have so much to be thankful for that it seems selfish to ask for more. I'll be home for the holidays soon, but have been soaking in all of the holiday cheer NYC has to offer. The Rockefeller tree was everything I hoped it'd be, the Saks and Bergdorf widow displays were downright dreamy, and strolling through Central Park bundled up with hats and scarves with a special boy on my arm has been the best gift of all.

Except this is a gift guide and I couldn't help but mentally check off my imaginary list walking down Fifth Avenue.

1.  Bobbi Brown's entire Holiday Collection was on point this year. I'm not a huge fan of shimmers and sparkles on my face, but this

gorgeous highlighter

would be the perfect touch of holiday glam to add to a party outfit, or just brighten up your complexion for everyday-wear.

2. Big, bulky sweaters are kind of my thing. Just recently I was deemed unrecognizable after arriving at a holiday party in a classic LBD and my hair down. Really? Ok, maybe I'll wear girl clothes more often. 

This v-neck sweater

seems like a sexy alternative to my usual bulky counterpart. I'd wear it with my number 3 pick, the 

black bralette

, just in case the neckline sweeps too low.

4. I've pretty much chunked all of my heels as there's no reason for torturing the balls of my feet walking from place to place around here. I figured these

all black tennis shoes

could serve as an the go-between from home to office.

5. I've been dying over the

Volcano Capri Blue scent

so often enticing shoppers in Athropologie. I've pretty much said no to paying full price on anything there, but this candle is so worth it.

6. Although the majority of my clothes are neutrals these days, I still feel drawn to baby pinks and blush tones now and then. I think

this Henri Bendel bag

would be the perfect complement to pop against my all black everything.

7. The perfect boyfriend jean is a true gem to find, and while I absolutely adore my Forever21 staples,

these zara jeans

are a bit tighter and more flattering when paired with my layers upon layers of sweaters and blanket scarves.

bold

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Who am I if not bold and sometimes brash? I've never been the soft-spoken, mysterious girl so often coveted in the dreams of the lost hero onscreen. I usually let my mouth get the best of me. For the most part, it's worked out. I have found most of my regrets stem from affections un-said, opinions un-voiced. I may lose at the whole perplexing-princess, ingenue trope, but I don't think my clothes would fit in her wardrobe anyway.

One must be of the audacious variety to snag a seat on a downtown 9 a.m. train to the Financial District, or triumph over combative taxi drivers at a crosswalk, or get a job in NYC where everyone is vying for the same "American Dream," carrying equal amounts schooling and exceeding amounts connections.

I don't think I'd call this yellow-printed pants set brash, but audacious? The sea of morning commuters part to make way for the woman drowning in analogous yellow print, or so I imagine—maybe I just smelled bad. It takes a bold personality to carry an all-over print, since you're certain to garner a doubletake or two.

I added a black, leather jacket and black pumps to my Zara set to streamline the color palate, but could not resist a bold lip a la Nars, Fast Ride to finish off the "don't think about turning right on red-it's my turn to walk-I look fierce-plus I can't walk any faster because, these heels hurt" look.

Bold gets you a job in New York. Brash helps when your broker's fee isn't comparable to his services.

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 [pants/blouse-zara, jacket-macy's (old), necklace-target (similar), shoes-h&m]

LBD

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IMG_9937 I can't tell you the last time I put on a dress with frills or was able to put my hair in a top knot. I suppose this weekend was monumental. Zara is on point with their subtly feminine pieces and I figured I needed a for real LBD if I wanted to graduate college a real woman. And yes, if you don't own a sexy-ish black dress then you aren't a woman. Just kidding, you probably just like brighter colors or not conforming to predetermined fashion must-haves. And what's an embroidered, leg revealing dress without beat up Chuck Taylor's?

Probably elegant, but I am not about to host a party in heels. There are drinks to mix and strangers to entertain and I was not planning on tripping while doing so. Also, any tips for bras and backless dresses are appreciated. I ended up having to summon the courage of Hannah Horvath and hope detailed embroidery would work as chest armor once the AC came on.

As for the top knot, I about squealed upon discovering that the baby hairs at the bottom of my hairline almost gathered into one handful. With the help of 17 bobby pins, every hair on my greying head was neatly hair-sprayed to the side of my scalp with a few hairs to spare, creating a knot of sorts at my crown. Almost two years of pixie-growout and I am able to participate in the hair trends of 2012. One small step for my hair, one giant leap for my heart.

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[dress-zara, shoes-chucks]